Some server REST API endpoints require authorization. We will explain here how anis handles authorizations.


Anis uses a web standard to manage authorizations. The name of this standard is JWT and you can find more information about this into the official website:

JWT is an authentication token that allows a user to prove their identity and access rights. The token is a string encoded in base64.

The user must send a JWT token for server REST API endpoints that require authorization to prove identity.


The token consists of three encoded parts separated by a dot :

  • In red you can see the header
  • In purple you can see the payload
  • In blue you can see the signature

JWT Header

The header is base64 encoded but can be decoded. The decoded header is a JSON which contains information about the token such as the algorithm used to digitally sign it.


JWT Payload

The second part can also be decoded to reveal a JSON. This JSON is the payload, which contains the claims. Claims are statements about an entity (typically, the user) and additional data. It can also contain the user's roles.


JWT signature

The last part contains the digital signature made by a trusted third party with a secret key. It ensures the authenticity of the token. The signature is built like this:


The signature is used to verify the message wasn't changed along the way, and, in the case of tokens signed with a private key, it can also verify that the sender of the JWT is who it says it is.

Activate authorization

By default authorization is not enabled in anis. This means that no entrypoint is protected by default. To enable authorization you need to change the environment variables configuration. You can find the configuration in the description of the server container in the docker-compose.yml file.


Here is the list of options concerning the authorization :

  • TOKEN_ENABLED: 0 means that the authorization is deactivated and 1 that it is activated
  • TOKEN_PUBLIC_KEY_FILE: Path to the file containing the public key that will allow anis-server to verify the authenticity of the token
  • TOKEN_ADMIN_ROLE: Role the user must have to call the protected routes

Send token with your request

To prove his identity the user must transmit a jwt token in his request. The JWT token will be validated by the server and the payload information will be able used. User will need to transmit the HTTP Authorization header like this :

Authorization: Bearer <token>

Example with curl:

curl http://localhost:8080/database --header 'Authorizarion: Bearer eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJzdWIiOiIxMjM0NTY3ODkwIiwibmFtZSI6IkpvaG4gRG9lIiwiaWF0IjoxNTE2MjM5MDIyfQ.SflKxwRJSMeKKF2QT4fwpMeJf36POk6yJV_adQssw5c'


Anis does not generate JWT tokens and a trusted third party must do it for him. Keycloak is an open source software product to allow single sign-on with Identity and Access Management aimed at modern applications and services. Keycloak will therefore generate JWT tokens for us. For more information you can visite the official website:

Anis includes by default a keycloak installation for development. You can find the keycloak container description in the docker-compose.yml file at the root of the anis-server project.

Concretely, a keycloak user will be able to request a connection to get a JWT token. The user will then need to pass this token on to server REST API requests that require authorization.

Confidential client

By default, the local keycloak installation registers a confidential client named anis-server. We can therefore request a token from keycloak via this client. But first we need to set up a secret for our anis-server keycloak client.

  1. Open a browser and go to keycloak: http://localhost:8180
  2. Click on the link Administration console
  3. Enter the administrator username and password (default=admin/admin)
  4. Click on the link Clients
  5. Select anis-server
  6. Select Credentials tab
  7. Click on the Regenerate Secret button


You can now send a request to keycloak to get a token :

curl -k --data "grant_type=client_credentials&client_id=anis-server&client_secret=**********" http://localhost:8180/auth/realms/anis/protocol/openid-connect/token

Replace ********** with the secret obtained from the keycloak interface.


The token to send to anis is the access_token. It is by default valid five minutes after its generation. This generated token contains the role anis_admin.

Public key

Anis needs the public key to verify the tokens sent to it. This key must therefore be updated :

  1. Open a browser and go to keycloak: http://localhost:8180
  2. Click on the link Administration console
  3. Enter the administrator username and password (default=admin/admin)
  4. In the realms settings menu select Keys tab
  5. In the first row of table click on the Public key button
  6. Copy the key
  7. In the anis-server project go to the file conf-dev/public_key
  8. Paste the key between begin and end (update if the key already exists)